Read Paper Republic
by Ge Liang, translated by Karen Curtis
In Yuye’s mind, there are no vast stretches of sea in Hong Kong. Victoria harbor, viewed from high above, looks like nothing more than a narrow strip of water. It is only after nightfall, in the waning light, when scattered twinkles on the boats and piers frame the contours of the water, that the sea starts to look more impressive.
Yuye grew up by the sea – a real one that stretched to the horizon. At high tide, giant waves crashed agains...
. . . one American student argued that tianxia was a synonym for the word “imperialism,” as to him it implied ultimate subjugation to a stronger political entity. For Western readers who may often regard the nation-state as the foundation of modern international politics, the deeper nuances of tianxia can therefore be rather difficult to grasp.
“A warm, delightful book set in the countryside of China during the Cultural Revolution. Strong, well-drawn relationships, tough enough to survive anything, are at the heart of the story and carry the reader through great hardship. I only wish I had been able to go to school on the back of a buffalo! …The descriptions of Chinese life are totally authentic, and the novel is inspirational and moving”
By David Haysom, October 20, '16
Yes, China also noticed that Bob Dylan received the Nobel Prize for Literature.
It is akin to Cui Jian [崔健] receiving the prize, argues Zhang Yiwu [张颐武], a professor at Peking University. “This year’s Nobel Prize for Literature was a complete surprise, an unexpectedly novel approach – a Black Swan, even. Yes, Bob Dylan has been a global megastar of music since the 1960s, and he influenced the new social movements of the era. But it’s a bold move for a prize that has been a staid presence in the literary landscape for so many years. It’s certainly innovative. In the age of the internet, anything’s possible.”
Chen Xiaoming [陈晓明], another literary critic, has also remarked on the unexpectedness of the award. “Perhaps this is something to do with the personal tastes of the committee,” he suggests, “a moment of nostalgia. Or perhaps reading his biography reminded them of their own youths, like some kind of performance art. Or another possibility is that this is their way of encouraging people to pay less attention to the prize, to stop treating it with such reverance. You’re all expected us to give it to Adonis, well okay then, we’ll give it to Bob Dylan.”
—translated from 诺贝尔文学奖颁给音乐人 为什么是鲍勃·迪伦？
Here are a selection of responses from Chinese authors (collected from Weixin and Weibo by the Paper Republic team):
Last week’s Chinese Sci-Fi event at the London Literature festival was irresistible: I love science fiction and have a keen interest in the Far East. The star here was Cixin Liu, whose 2008 Hugo-awarded novel The Three-Body Problem is a huge best-seller in China and, since its English translation (Head of Zeus, 2015), beyond. (See Nature’s interview with its translator, sci-fi writer Ken Liu, here.) Liu’s fellow panellist was Xiaolu Guo, the award-winning, genre-defying Chinese novelist and filmmaker now living in Britain, whose works include the 2014 I Am China and 2012 UFO In Her Eyes.
By David Haysom, October 18, '16
Following a brief period of dormancy, Read Paper Republic will be reanimated next Thursday (just in time for Halloween!) with a limited run of six new tales in which death is merely the beginning of the story. Every week, one of these stories – populated with ghosts, memories, and otherworldly reincarnations – will be appearing right here, and they will be completely free to read.
We also have some upcoming events happening in London which we'll be announcing soon – watch this space...
"What young parents want their children to take away from stories needs to fit in with the increased diversity, equality, and confidence demanded of us today."
- Chen Jingnan, director and editor, Shanghai Education Television Station
By Bruce Humes, October 17, '16
Two events of interest, including one (2nd below) with Paper Republic's very secretive Eric Abrahamsen:
How to Translate Chinese Literature: Challenges in the Translation Process and Perspectives in Practice
New Literary Voices from China
By Helen Wang, October 17, '16
Maybe it's time to check the Links page on this website? (scroll down to the bottom of your screen - if you're using a big screen, it's on bottom left)
- are these still active?
- are there new ones that we should add?
"A rip-roaring Swiftian satire from a contemporary Chinese master"
The Explosion Chronicles. By Yan Lianke. Translated by Carlos Rojas. Grove Press; 457 pages; $26. To be published in Britain by Chatto & Windus in March 2017.
Anna Holmwood, who translated A Perfect Crime into English, says that the slim novel—which tells the story of a provincial high school student who murders his best friend in cold blood as his peers urgently prepare for the career-defining gaokao—reflects how Chinese authors are adapting modern Western literature to tell stories from their own modernizing society. “I think this is a story that puts the social and the individual into conflict to examine a very real problem in Chinese society: social exclusion,” says Holmwood. “I’m not sure if the story is taking a swing at traditionalism so much as throwing into focus what can happen when the individual becomes disassociated, or divorced, from social norms through discrimination and inequality. Chinese society is curiously scarred by its radical modernism as much as its traditionalism. The tensions between seemingly ‘traditional’ social norms and politicized social structures are fundamentally alienating for those who find themselves at the ‘bottom’ of society.”
Cao Wenxuan's acceptance speech at the Hans Christian Andersen Award ceremony in New Zealand, August 2016. Links to Chinese and English versions.
Join Xu Xi and Bino Realuyo to talk about Xu’s newly released novel That Man In Our Lives (C&R Press 2016). Bino and Xu will perform the book's prelude in a conversation on the transnational novel, metafiction, jazz and Bugs Bunny. Narrator, character, and oh yeah, real people themselves shapeshift in a conversation about the fate of the novel in the era of globalization and China’s ascendance.
Thursday, October 13, 2016 7:00pm
Asian American Writers' Workshop
112 W 27th Street
New York, New York 10001
The study will count and analyze the number, and diversity, of translated works published in the United States, focusing on factors including the languages and countries from which the works originate and the characteristics of the publishers publishing them. By focusing on these factors, the NBF hopes to translators, publishers, and readers with data on the availability and range of translated books in the American marketplace.
One of the world’s great poets, Bei Dao 北岛, was shocked when his son, then in first grade, brought home a poem he was to learn by heart for a Hong Kong schools competition... He resolved that day to create an anthology of poems for his son and other children, and this book is the result. 北岛选编《给孩子的诗》
By Eric Abrahamsen, October 6, '16
Ge Fei's new English novel, The Invisibility Cloak, translated by our own Canaan Morse, is out next week, published by The New York Review of Books Press next week. Ge Fei is visiting the Big Apple and environs, and those of you in Manhattan or Brooklyn have three chances to see him talk about his new book!
The first event is at Columbia University on October 12th (Wednesday) starting at 4pm, where Ge Fei will be joined by Canaan to discuss the book.
Then later that evening (October 12th, 7pm) Ge Fei appears at the Community Bookstore in Brooklyn, in conversation with Michael Barron.
Lastly, he'll be at the China Institute on the 13th (Thursday) at 6:30pm, with Zhang Xudong.
If you're in town, take the opportunity to see Ge Fei talk! He's a great writer, a great big brain, and a wonderful speaker.
By Eric Abrahamsen, October 3, '16
We've got a new look! With thanks to Sun Xiaoxi, the designer behind the 2015 BIBF look. 21st century, here we come!
It's possible that people using truly ancient versions of Internet Explorer might have some difficulties – please let me know in the comments.
Meanwhile, this will be a good starting place from which to start working on better entry points to the database. A nice winter project...
On International Translators Day and the last day of World Kid Lit Month, expert on Chinese children’s literature and Princeton University librarian Minjie Chen talks more about where Chinese children’s literature has been, where it is now, and where it might be going.
Expert on Chinese children’s literature and Princeton University librarian Minjie Chen answered one of the perennial questions about translation.
As someone who looks both at Chinese literature (in translation) and American literature that portrays Chinese experience, how do you respond to the perennial question: Why translate when “we already have Chinese stories in English”?
The incentives to self-censor are obvious. A writer whose creativity finds expression within (or just outside) the bounds of what is permissible can live very comfortably. Yan believes that Chinese literature pays a price for self-censorship, however, in terms of diminished international influence.
“The reason Chinese literature is paid attention to is because people pay attention to Chinese political restrictions. That doesn’t mean the literature is good,” he [Yan Lianke] says.
By David Haysom, September 26, '16
From the Newman Prize homepage:
While the deliberations were tough, after a process of positive elimination voting Wang Anyi emerged as the winner. Wang Anyi’s nominator, Dai Jinhua (戴锦华, Peking University), writes in her nomination statement: “Over the past thirty or more years, Wang Anyi has continuously transformed her writing and altered her literary directions to produce a spectacular array of works, through which she has created a sort of reality of Chinese-language literature, a city in literature, or even a nation in literature.”
Wang Anyi's story "Dark Alley" (translated by Canaan Morse) was the 47th release of Read Paper Republic Season 1.
By Eric Abrahamsen, September 23, '16
English PEN has this program called "PEN Presents", where they provide translators with funding to promote books they want to translate, and this year they're accepting applications from East and South-East Asia. From their announcement
PEN Presents aims to help publishers to discover – and publish – the most exciting books from around the world, whilst supporting emerging translators in their development as advocates for international literature. Each year the initiative presents six exciting books by contemporary authors, recommended by literary translators, which have not yet been acquired for English-language publication. Each round of PEN Presents focusses on a different region of the world.
They're working with the Asia Literary Review for this year's program – see this link for application instructions. The deadline is December 5, 2016.
By Helen Wang, September 16, '16
NEW RESOURCE: Chinese books for young readers - from Helen Wang, Anna Gustafsson Chen, Minjie Chen - launched this week!
First five posts:
(1) Chinese books for young readers
(2) Gerelchimeg Blackcrane
(3) Chinese children's literature and the UK National Curriculum
(4) Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
(5) The Reason for Being Late
Curtin University’s China Australia Writing Centre (CAWC) is a research and creative partnership between Curtin University and Shanghai’s Fudan University.
It will host its inaugural literary event this Saturday, when Creative Conversations presents four sessions involving high-profile Australian and Chinese participants working across a range of disciplines from law and journalism to poetry and fiction.
Bugs Bunny, the Novel, and Transnationalism - Ysabelle Cheung interviews Xu Xi in the LA Review of Books
By Bruce Humes, September 2, '16
An Arabic edition of the magazine Chinese Literature has been launched during the Beijing International Book Fair and will be distributed for free starting October as a periodical magazine issued every three months in partnership with the Egyptian cultural newspaper Al-Kahera.
The magazine, which is already published in 10 languages and comprises fiction, poetry and art, will be published under the name Beacons of the Silk Road, and will introduce contemporary Chinese literature to Arabic readers.
I'm wondering: Is this the newest edition of Pathlight?